Calls to count the Armed Forces community in the census

16th May 2016 Fraser Bedwell

Launched today, the campaign calls for the UK and Scottish Governments to include questions about the Armed Forces community in the 2021 Census. It aims to record critical information about the size, location and profile of this group in order to gain insight that will help Poppyscotland, along with other voluntary and statutory organisations develop future services.

The Armed Forces community in Scotland – made up of serving (regular and reservists) and ex-Service people and their dependants – is estimated to be around 530,000. However, despite this representing around 10% of the Scottish population, little is known about this group and the welfare needs they may face.

Scotland’s Census, which is undertaken every 10 years by National Records of Scotland, captures a wide variety of information from the population. The most recent Census conducted in 2011 showed that there were 11,746 Jedi Knights in Scotland and 597 people who consider their religion to be Heavy Metal. There were exactly 2,888 schools crossing patrol employees yet the exact number of veterans living in Scotland is unknown.

In addition, 254 people in Scotland consider their nationality to be Cornish, but it is not known how many reservists reside in Scotland and where they are located.

While it is possible to analyse data on deckchair manufacturers and courgette growers it is not possible to find out more about veterans and their families.

Poppyscotland believes there is a lack of accurate and relevant information about the Armed Forces community and wants to see this change.

Poppyscotland’s Head of Welfare Services Gary Gray said: “Our aim is to provide life-changing support to those in the Armed Forces community in return for their service and sacrifices. However, it seems strange that we know more about the circumstances of Scotland’s Jedi Knights and Cornish population than we do about those who have served, those still serving and their families. By asking questions in the next Census we can shape and develop services to best meet the needs of those we seek to support. We hope the public gets behind the campaign to count them in.”

Poppyscotland is asking members of the public to show their support for the campaign by contacting their local MP with the ‘Count Them In’ message, visiting the campaign website – or by posting their support on social media using the #CountThemIn hashtag. In addition Poppyscotland will be contacting MSPs, the Scottish Government and local authorities.

#CountThemIn is a UK-wide campaign led by Poppyscotland’s parent charity The Royal British Legion, which is targeting the Office for National Statistics (England and Wales) and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency. It has been launched on the fifth anniversary of the principles of the Armed Forces Covenant being written into law.

Find out more here.


Armed Forces community in Scotland figures from Poppyscotland’s household survey (2014) available here

Statistics from Scotland’s Census 2011, which are available here.

ONS Standard Occupational Classification 2010